How much choice do you give your children?

William Morris said ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.

I chant this every time I enter Poundland.

But still the beautiful, useful crap keeps piling up and every time I move from the sink to the fridge I have to wade through 4 inches of plastic food.

We have a plan to entice our daughter into playing in her bedroom. Apparently the answer is simple: A rug.

People joke about women buying candles and cushions but no one ever mentions men and their obsession with rugs and offensively patterned duvet covers.

Like The Dude in The Big Lebowski Mr Eeh Bah is convinced rugs have a mystical power for making places look homely. According to my fella our lives will be shitting awesome once we have a rug in my daughter’s bedroom. In years to come we will look back on our lives and see a clear divide between the life we had before rug and the amazing time we had after the rug.

So I am sitting at home when an email pings in from the man I love, the father of my two perfect children, the man of the house. In it there is a link to some rugs.

They are fucking horrible.

One of them features a unicorn under a rainbow.

I shit you not.

Mr Eeh Bah was right the rug has become a defining moment in my life. It is the catalyst for me realising the man I love has NO TASTE WHATSOEVER.

I phone him and gently point out the rugs have given me a terrible headache and I may need trauma counselling.

‘But she’ll love them.’ He replies.

‘Of course she will. She’s three.’ I retort. If Hello Kitty produced pink sparkly cat poo she would love that too.

This is exactly why child labour is illegal. So children don’t have available funds to buy acid flashback inducing unicorn rugs or sparkly Japanese cat turds.

We are facing the ultimate parenting dilemma. How much choice do you give your children?

I let my daughter choose her own clothes. This has been  a mistake, I was hoping for the artfully thrown together look.  I imagined wellies, fairy wings and a Stone Roses t-shirt.*

Instead she usually chooses to wear a dress 3 years too big for her with two skirts underneath and a t-shirt and vest on top.  She looks like she is about to try win a Guinness World Record for most dirty clothes on a 3 year old.

The problem with offering choice is that children don’t make your choices. Which is fine in some cases but not in others.

Personally I don’t think a three year old should be allowed to choose soft furnishings.

I’m with William Morris on this one.

The Dude abides.


*To be fair we don’t actually own any fairy wings or a Stone Roses t-shirt so it would have been a bit of a push for her.

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10 thoughts on “How much choice do you give your children?

  1. Totally with you on the clothes front! Although some days our LO can look oddly hippy-like and ‘on-trend’. More so than me…

  2. I’m all for freedom of choice, providing it’s my choice. (I’ve got to learn to let go a bit!).
    On the rug front, it must be a male thing. Boy has rug obsession but won’t put them flat on the floor in case they get dirty….they are stacked like wine bottles, adding to general sense of chaos in his room (he has graduated to putting “No mummies allowed” signs on his bedroom door…a worrying development!).

  3. Yup. We bought a “rug” for the boys bedroom when my younger son decided to paint his legs with scarlet acrylic paint and got it mostly on their cream carpet (inherited from previous owners I hasten to add- I’m not that stupid that I would ever buy anything cream!) It was one of those play mats with a road system printed on. I don’t think I ever saw either of them drive a car along it, nor did I ever see it lying flat- it was a constant trip hazard and concealed a million revolting things in amongst the usual lego debris. Mind you, at least it didn’t have a unicorn on…

  4. Fab blog – made me laugh loads!!! Boys and bad taste with rugs – it is inherent in their nature!!! My boy when i met him – neutral flat with brown leather sofa/armchair, muted silver tv etc and curtains (sounds weird but just about worked) until the rug….. Bought from Dubai – blue, red and gold colours in a very Eastern traditional pattern!!! They currently live in the roof with him every now and again stating they would be lovely in front of the fire in our living room… Not a chance,

  5. showed this to Mr P. His comment was “well, what would she know about rugs, she’s a woman”. He can’t see the problem with a unicorn rug. He’s off now to search for sparkly Japanese cat poo……

  6. Good luck with the rug! I love the ‘I have dressed myself look’. And it sounds like your daughter has the art of effortless layering down pat. #Futurefashiondesigner

  7. I realised we’d gone quite far in allowing them free choices when the head of the nursery commented to me how nice it was to see children being allowed to express their personality. Yeah sadly though mine like mainly to express their view that weather is for the weak of mind, by wearing summer clothes in winter and vice versa. I have a lovely picture of them at the zoo in Basel December, in leggings and tops, while behind them two German kids in full snow gear walk past. And last summer when one of them started wearing a quilted jacket, gloves and a hat in July I was all like “natural consequences, she’ll learn about regulating her own temperature by choosing appropriate clothes this way” – of course I was the one who cracked first as her temperature topped 38 degrees and she sat sweating and muttering in the buggy. Even then I had to wrestle the thing off her and hide it in a box for the rest of the summer.

  8. Omg I thought it was just my OH who was all about rugs! We’ve just moved into our first flat (two days before LO was born) and every time we look in the Argos catalogue its all about the rugs – apparently there is a multitude of reasons why a rug is a must have, including: Making the place look like a home (as opposed to what? A convention hall?) , bringing a bit of colour (then why do you want a black rug???) and to “break things up a bit” (wtf does that even mean??)

  9. OMG I thought it was only my husband with this bizarre idea about rugs !!!!!! Ditto dreadful doona covers (jungle prints……multiple prints….on 1 doona).

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